An Observer editorial has attacked the government’s treatment of refugees as “performative nastiness”. Criticising the immigration minister Robert Jenrick’s order to paint over murals at a detention centre for refugee children, the paper continued: “Ratcheting up immigration fees; culling efforts to make traumatised children slightly more at ease: these are expressions of performative nastiness from a party that is bereft of ideas and has substituted unkindness to people from elsewhere in the world for a governing purpose. It is those fleeing conflict and torture, to whom we owe only compassion and kindness, who will pay the highest price.
Meanwhile, two very minor concessions have been made to MPs and Lords opposing the Illegal Migration bill. The bill’s measures will no longer be backdated to March, but will only take effect after it becomes law. And refugee children can be held for eight days without bail, instead of 28. Government critics have assumed that these extraordinarily harsh measures were only mooted in the first place to allow the government some leeway to back down.